Thursday, January 22, 2015

For a Revolutionary Intervention in the Forthcoming Elections: Statement of the Workers Revolutionary Party (EEK) of Greece

Final Update on the Greek election

Greece now has a new government. SYRIZA's Alexis Tsipras was  sworn in yesterday as the new Prime Minister.  In order to get there Tsipras made a deal with the right wing Greek Independents (ANEL), a split from New Democracy, in order to obtain a clear majority in parliament. Final results for SYRIZA  see them with 149 seats in Parliament, two short of a clear majority. The coalition agreement with ANEL gives Tsipras another 13 seats. Although ANEL is anti-austerity, at least rhetorically,  they are also racist and xenophobic.  This is a terrible start for the new government and it bears out the warnings that were issued by the EEK statement in their election statement that we reprinted (below).  Most troubling of all is the appointment of the leader of ANEL, Panos Kammenos, to the position of the Minister of Defense in the new government.  Considering the close ties of much of Greece’s military and militarized police with the Golden Dawn neo-Nazis and Greece’s history of having endured a right wing military dictatorship in the 1960’s this is an ominous development.

However,   the conciliatory character of SYRIZA's leadership should not diminish the magnitude of the historic change that this election represented.  For the first time in more than a generation a political party that claimed to be "Left" - even "far-Left" has won a national election in Europe and is forming a government.  And the election itself electrified Greece.  One of the remarkable things about this election was that the percentage of the vote for SYRIZA was about the same in the rural areas as it was in the major cities of Athens and Thessaloniki.  Traditionally the rural parts of Greece were the backbone of the Right whereas the major cities were the stronghold of the the Left.  This indicates a massive defection from the Right.  There were of course still some regional differences in the election results. For instance, in the working class Athens suburb of Nikaia, which had once been a stronghold of the Communist Party, SYRIZA obtained 42% of the vote while New Democracy obtained only 18%.  This contrasts with the nationwide result of 36% for SYRIZA and 28% for New Democracy. 

What this election means for the people of Greece is that they see hope for the first time since the brutal austerity regime began in 2009.  And while we understand that SYRIZA's leadership is bent on a course that will dash those hopes, we do not accept failure as pre-ordained.  Rather we think it is the responsibility of Marxists to work for an autonomous mobilization of the masses who supported SYRIZA.  Such a movement,  if it develops can go beyond the limited vision of SYRIZA's leaders.  And it is only by going through that experience that the Greek masses can be brought to the point where they can look to a new leadership.  

Such an approach is in stark contrast to the lifeless approach found among many of the sectarian groups on the left. Typically such groups think that all they need to do is to denounce SYRIZA and that this will somehow lead to masses of people supporting them.  And while these groups can say some correct things about the bourgeois nature of SYRIZA’s leadership, they also discount the significance of SYRIZA’s victory. For instance, one such outfit said the following the day after the election,

"Syriza’s victory is by no means the popular endorsement claimed by the media and its various pseudo-left apologists."

But this is just to deny reality. As practically all observers have testified, SYRIZA, a wholly untested political party that has never been in government before, was swept into office on the wave of an unprecedented movement against austerity and for a radical alternative.  Take for instance the following observation made during the campaign by a member of EEK who had been travelling throughout the country;

"There is a tsunami of popular support for Syriza to get rid from the Right and austerity  but this  support is not  at all uncritical. Many questions are rising from the moderation of the Syriza's leadership and its accommodation to  right wing forces. The   general left wing turn of the masses creates  new opportunities  for us revolutionaries too."

The sectarian groups are blind to the opportunities because they are indifferent to the mass movement.  And when that mass movement breaks out as it did in the election of SYRIZA,  they work overtime to make this inconvenient truth go away.  (The other side of the equation are the opportunist groups on the Left, those who uncritically praise SYRIZA and offer no independent perspective.)

An excellent counter to the arrogance and stupidity of the sectarian groups was made by one of the people who commented on the article we quoted.  We think it is appropriate to reproduce his comment in full even though we do not agree with everything he writes. Nevertheless, he is correct on the main point, the sectarians are clueless when it comes to the historical experience of the Greek working class and the significance of this election.

" Speaking as a Greek who has fought for revolution all his life, there happens to be a political reality in Greece which should be recognized and that is that after many years of being propagandized by center-right to right-wing media controlled by oligarchs and by center-right governments, it will take some time for the Greek people to realize not just whom they should support but what exactly has happened to them. The lies that have been told from the big majority of power centers in Europe have managed to create the idea that Greeks owe as much as has been advertised, that they have been given a "helping" hand from the populations of Europe and shouldn't demand more and that the Greeks are lazy people who only want to drink ouzo and have good times. Many Greeks have become non-believers in the possibility of exiting this situation which, by any analysis will and would be very difficult under these international crisis situations.

Greek reality is different from the reality in other European countries as she is a microcosm of nearly every type of political movement. For example during and after the Second World War, the communist resistance forces were on the brink of taking power but were betrayed by the so-called allies of the west like the US and England and who supported the ultra-right pro Nazi forces and denied the Greek people the right to chose their own destiny, just has they are once again trying to do once more. It is the first time in the world since the changes in South America and the first time in Europe where a what is considered left wing government has been elected in any country. One has to be patient and to see what this experiment will bring before condemning the attempt even before it has taken power. Denying political realities and not supporting the ONLY left-leaning elected government in Europe only gives support to the enemies of the left, something that the left has been prone to and used by the right for years and thus accentuating the left's failures to convince a majority of population that revolution and support of the working class is the only way out."

Jan 28, 2015

Update on Greek election results

The polls in Greece closed just hours ago and the exit polls are predicting a resounding victory for SYRIZA. Greek Prime Minister Samaris has already congratulated Alexis Tsipras on SYRIZA's victory. Whether SYRIZA will have enough seats to gain an outright majority in Parliament and thus form their own government without coalition partners still remains to be seen but they are now predicted to be very close toward getting the 151 seats in Parliament needed for a majority.  They are expected to get anywhere from 35 - 39% of the vote with the right wing New Democracy expected to get no more than 25% of the vote. 

PASOK, including the new breakaway group formed by George Papandreou, is down to a miserable 6% of the vote between them, a well-deserved rebuke for their acceptance of the austerity  measures of the EU.  PASOK is no longer even the third place party in Greece.  That "honor" will now go to either the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn or another right wing party.  The KKE (Communist Party) with a predicted 6% of the vote will get about a dozen deputies into Parliament and will have a larger representation there than PASOK. No news yet of results for the EEK or ANTARSYA - the two 'far-left' parties fielding candidates in this election - though it is doubtful either will get enough votes to make it into Parliament. 

Whatever the final result this election could mark a sea change in European politics.  It is the first time in more than a generation that a country has voted for an avowedly left wing party and put them in charge of the country. (The acronym SYRIZA  stands for "Coalition of the Radical Left").  Again this is an avowedly left wing party - not a "Social Democratic" party. It remains to be seen just how different from traditional social democracy SYRIZA will turn out to be once in power. But for now what is crucial about this vote is what it expresses about the aspirations of the Greek masses: this is without question a vote FOR radical social change. 

And coming as it does in year 7 of the most serious crisis of capitalism since the the Great Depression and standing against the prevailing orthodoxy of austerity, it signifies a huge challenge to international capital.  Suddenly there are new possibilities for revolutionary socialists.

Here is a video of the celebration at SYRIZA headequarters in Athens when the initial results were being announced:

Updated posted on Jan. 25, 2015.

Note: We are publishing the election manifesto of the Workers Revolutionary Party of Greece (EEK). We believe this is an important statement that should be studied and discussed by all those working towards a socialist resolution of the crisis of capitalism. Greece has become the epicenter of that crisis and the fate of Greece could very well determine the fate of Europe and of the world for decades to come. While Greece is a relatively small country with a relatively small economy compared for example, to Spain or Italy, it has the potential to show the way forward to others.  And this is a historic moment in Greece as there is every indication that a party of the Left – SYRIZA - (an acronym for the ‘Party of the Radical Left’), will win the elections for parliament on Jan 25. As the EEK statement points out, SYRIZA will not be able to meet the expectations of those who will be voting for it.  We believe that the EEK’s approach,  seeking to join in a common struggle with the masses who see in SYRIZA  an alternative to the austerity measures of successive Center Left and Center Right governments, while patiently explaining the limitations of SYRIZA, is fundamentally right.  EEK’s decision to field its own candidates independent of those groups on the left who have made common cause with nationalists of the Left and the Right is also welcome.

That being said, our posting of the EEK's election statement doesn't mean we agree with every aspect of the party's program. The statement makes a formally correct warning about the dangers of a Chile-style counterrevolution in the wake of a powerless left government. This is a real danger but it is by no means a pre-determined outcome. What is troubling here is the tone of the statement and its implicit message: SYRIZA will betray, the other left groups will adapt opportunistically to this betrayal, the bourgeoisie and the overlords of European capital will hatch their plots, and it will all end badly for the aspirations of the Greek masses. But this leaves those masses out of the picture, renders them passive observers. Revolutionary socialists should welcome the prospects of a SYRIZA government, not because there should be any illusions in the capacity of SYRIZA to “negotiate” their way out of the crisis, but because a SYRIZA government will provide a new experience for the working class, making possible rapid advances in consciousness and the possibilities that such advances open up for the building of a genuine revolutionary leadership. The job of revolutionaries is to go through this experience with the masses by putting demands on SYRIZA that can rally mass support. A long time ago this used to be known, in the international Trotskyist movement, as the 'transitional method'. It seems to us that most parties that call themselves Trotskyist today have lost sight of that approach. But while the EEK shares the problems facing all revolutionary groups today, it is making a serious effort to think through the practical and theoretical problems of what is to be done when one is a small group facing an important historical turning point.  This is a refreshing contrast to the numerous sterile sects who think that revolutionary strategy consists in proclaiming themselves the only revolutionary party on the planet while denouncing everyone else.
We have adapted the translation originally published by the EEK in their online publication:

We made stylistic changes from the original translation to facilitate a smoother reading experience while leaving the content unchanged.  We have also added notes to the document in order to explain references that might not be familiar to an English speaking audience.

EEK banner at one of the earlier anti-austerity marches

For a revolutionary intervention in the forthcoming elections

Resolution of EEK in the Extraordinary Conference of Dec 28th 2014

1.   1. The country’s economic bankruptcy and social disintegration led to the most acute crisis of political power. The collapsing Samaras-Venizelos government tied to the troika’s[1] Memoranda can no longer govern; and a successor SYRIZA-based government is not a viable option, neither for the ruling class or the masses that are likely to vote for them.

Samaras’ headlong rush with the attempted termination of the Memorandum and his failed “success story” rhetoric ended in a tragicomedy.[2] The troika, and above all the IMF itself and Schäuble[3] pulled the rug from under the feet of the Samaras/Venizelos  government by demanding a new and devastating series of  measures be enacted against the people of Greece,  thereby accelerating the timetable for the presidential election and early parliamentary elections. There is no doubt that the troika’s ultimatum had as its final recipient not the departing right-wing prime minister, but the left-wing government that is likely to follow. The cynical EU blackmail is clear: either SYRIZA will capitulate to their austerity measures, disappointing  popular expectations and losing its base of support or it will be crushed by the “markets”. This expected chain of events in turn is supposed to send a message to Podemos[4] in Spain and Ireland’s Sinn Féin’s.[5]

On the EU side, there is no room for compromise either. The Union is sinking into recession, over-indebtedness, deflation and the systemic crisis of capitalist that is radiating from the periphery but now threatens its inner core: Italy, France and Germany itself. On the other hand, the right-wing political subordination to the Troika and capital have squeezed the Greek working class and the middle class below even a minimal level of subsistence. The politics of SYRIZA - to reduce austerity through negotiation and compromise with the EU, the IMF, international and Greek capital - cannot be realized given the objective limitations imposed by the worsening crisis of capitalism.

The forces of right wing reaction are preparing for the confrontation, strengthening their positions in the state, the para-state, the repressive, judicial, and ideological apparatuses and fascist gangs to turn a SYRIZA government into a “left parenthesis”, a phantom government without any real power, before the extreme right-wing returns with a revanchist social counter-revolution.

The upcoming elections are undoubtedly a crucial episode in the new phase of the class struggle. However, whatever the election result may be, it is certain that it will not solve but rather further exacerbate the crisis of political power and, finally, the crisis of class rule. The ruling capitalists are unable to lead society out of their system’s crisis. Only the working class, supported by the masses that the crisis is currently destroying, can provide a way out of the crisis, organizing the exit from the system, from domination by the bourgeoisie and imperialism, toward international socialism in the region, in Europe, and worldwide.
If in the epicenter we are confronted by the crisis of political power itself, then the fundamental question becomes that of revolutionary strategy. All the tactical issues involved in the class struggle, our electoral tactics; the transitional program; the attitude towards the debt, “austerity” measures and the EU; the creation of fronts, alliances, etc, derive from and are subordinated to this fundamental strategic question.

1.   2.        The next political battle is being staged on the hostile terrain of bourgeois parliamentarism, controlled by capital, parties of the establishment and corporate media, condemning to silence  the voices of the revolutionary Left. Nevertheless, the fight is taking place precisely under conditions of the  advanced decay of  bourgeois parliamentarism coinciding with a popular outcry against the austerity regime, providing an important arena for a revolutionary intervention by the EEK.

The early presidential election[6] with the suffocating stench of scandals, “transfers”, pay-offs, extortions, back-stabbings, accelerated the decay of the political system. It unmasked a zombie-like Parliament, rubber-stamping pre-approved decisions within a bourgeois regime in a state of “emergency”. In the name of the dying bourgeois democracy, the ruling class, following the imperatives of the coming class war, have built Type-C prisons[7] not only for the prisoners but to imprison any potential resistance; for the confinement of the entire society. The elections will not revive the undead parliamentarism, although parliamentary illusions may grow along with the expectation of a parliamentary “left government”.

The road to freedom does not pass through electoral “self-reliance” or parliamentary coalitions and compromises between left-wing and center-left or right-wing nationalists of the ANEL type [Independent Greeks][8], but through the working-people's self-organization and mass struggle for workers' power, the power of  those in the “bottom” against the power of  those on the “top”. The system has reached its limits and must therefore be overthrown.

1.   3. The Samaras government and the Official Opposition party are fighting to convince the people who will be on February 2015, “the most reliable and effective negotiator with the EU, ECB and IMF”, the right-wing "familiar faces" to Juncker, Moscovici and Merkel or the more difficult “left-wing negotiator”. [9]  In reality, however, there is no room for real negotiations. On the one hand, the diktats from Berlin, Brussels and Washington are not negotiable, as far as the troika is concerned. On the other hand, our lives, our lives, the lives of the people have reached their limits, if they haven’t already been surpassed and cannot be negotiated by anyone. It is not possible to tolerate a further deterioration of their conditions of life and this cannot be "negotiated" by anyone.

We don’t choose negotiators for our lives! The memoranda will not be torn apart by any bourgeois government but by the working people itself with the  Indefinite General Political Strike[10] as its weapon. A strike that will not end until the dissolution of the memoranda and the interrelated cancelation of the foreign debt to the international usurers!

Whoever gets elected, the only choice is the continuation of  the class struggle up to the victory of the working class and all oppressed. If, as is likely, the crumbling Right is overthrown, there should be neither a day nor an hour of respite, a negligent marking of time, or any “grace period” granted to the new government. The power of the people must immediately be exercised with all forms of mobilization and self-organization of its forces in neighborhoods, public spaces, places of work and study. If the cause of our liberation from suffering is left in the hands of the “negotiators”, the local and international Reaction lurking and preparing its revenge will win. Victory is a  strategic question, to organize  the struggle for power from the part of the oppressed and downtrodden, unemployed and those with precarious jobs, the poor and the newly poor of the memoranda whirlwind.

1.   4.      The EEK is not indifferent  nor politically snobbish against the broad masses who hope for a SYRIZA victory in order to get even the faintest respite from the suffocation of austerity. We do not keep an equidistant attitude or flatten the differences between the Right-wing and SYRIZA, as does the Stalinist Communist Party [KKE]. We share the popular anger and we join its struggle. We are ready for joint action against the troika, the memoranda block, the black-blue-green Right[11] and the common class enemy.

We recognize the conditions and also, the limits of the mass shift towards the Left which from 2012 took the form of mass political support to SYRIZA, not just as as an opposition force and a pressure group to bourgeois power, but as an alternative government of the Left. Together with the hopes of many, we do not ignore the aspirations of some “former” pro-troika, “former” PASOK, “former  Democratic Left”, center left, and other scoundrels, seeking in SYRIZA a Siloam's Pool[12] to absolve their public sins and an access to the scoop of honey of bourgeois power. Above all we are not blind to the maneuvers of certain “business circles” and bourgeois politicians promoting a “necessary alliances with a SYRIZA-based government”. Their goal is to turn SYRIZA toward class collaborationist policies the day after the election, to ensure that Greece remains within the capitalist orbit and the EU regardless of who is nominally the head of state.

Already, the acceptance of such class collaborationist policies that are inimical to the interests of the workers and the people  is seen in the declarations of loyalty of  the SYRIZA leadership for the “continuity of the State” under conditions of the crisis of bourgeois rule. They have made clear their intention of staying in the EU and NATO, of accepting the conditions of the suffocating domination of imperialism and of continuing Greece's support for imperialist intervention into the geopolitical  explosions in our region, the Balkans and the Middle East.

We call upon the forces within the working class, the youth, the intellectuals supporting or investing their hopes in SYRIZA to demand from their leadership  that they break with the bourgeoisie, the political nomenklatura, and all opportunists and suitors of the power of capital. To reject the  policy of the “continuity of the State” and the agreements with imperialism, bankrupt capitalism, the EU, the IMF and NATO.

At each step that the masses will take towards this direction we will be on their side maintaining our political independence, our criticism, and warning that reformist leaders are not at all prepared for such necessary ruptures. These leaders have already shown their servility through their reassuring statements to the capitalists and the EU, through their actions, and especially through their program.

The austerity measures cannot be cancelled without the unilateral cancellation of the debt and without exemption from the prison of the EU, ECB and IMF. Austerity measures, the debt and the Troika are the heads of one Hydra; we cannot cut just one head leaving the others in place. The totally inadequate “program of Thessaloniki”  advanced by SYRIZA[13] wants to empty the ocean of  the people’s sufferings with a teaspoon.  The program's promise to “continue the State” opens the way to a 1973 Chile-type tragedy.

To get bread, work, health, education and freedom, it is necessary to overthrow the system of hunger, unemployment, ignorance and repression. Otherwise we will be buried under the ruins of capitalism’s bankruptcy.  What is required is a radical re-organization of the economy on a new social, socialist basis, in accordance with a democratically drafted plan to meet social needs; nationalization of strategic sectors, without compensation to the capitalist sharks, under workers' control and workers' management.

We will work to build a powerful United Front of all workers' and popular organizations, movements, collectives that can bring together  the entire Left and the revolutionary movement, from KKE, SYRIZA, ANTARSYA[14] to the EEK, the other left organizations, anarchists and anti-authoritarian movements to become a focus for the struggle against the crisis; to smash the Reaction, imperialist domination, the police state and the fascist para-state, to end social slavery, to open the road to  universal human emancipation that for the EEK is none other than universal, emancipatory communism.

1.   5.        The crisis is not merely a Greek peculiarity but is an expression of a global process. At the epicenter of this world capitalist crisis is Europe.  A definitive way out of the crisis isn’t feasible if it remains within a single country, tied to a program of national “autarchy” or national entrenchment. The economic nationalism that caused tragedies in the interwar period and laid the basis for the Second World War, flares up again, especially in the EU, with a far-right, right-wing or even a “left-wing” coloration, depending on the specific country. This is the end product of the cannibalistic measures adopted by the E.U. and its member nations. If it proved to be ineffective and destructive in the past, today it’s a reactionary utopia, a recipe for disasters. The ΕΕΚ declares unambiguously: no compromise with the devastating economic nationalism even under a “left-wing” sign. The salvation of the people requires nothing less than a social revolution.  The revolutionary struggle can begin in Greece or in another country, but its victory cannot be completed except on an international scale, with the unification of all social revolutionary struggles, for the socialist unification of our region and Europe over the ruins of the imperialist E.U.

1.   6.      All the requirements, opportunities and risks of the historical moment in which we live, require the political independence of the working class to be forged and to be preserved from a new Varkiza treaty[The 1945 Varkiza agreement between British imperialism and the ELAS partisans betrayed by Stalinism].[15]  This makes more than ever necessary and urgent, the independent political intervention of the revolutionary forces, of the revolutionary Left and EEK, in the forthcoming crucial for the people electoral battle.

With that in mind we organized an open meeting and discussion on Dec 15th at the University of Athens Law Faculty on the topic of “December’s road – the revolutionary response to the crisis”.  At this meeting the EEK presented its proposals and invited other organizations from the so-called “extra-parliamentary left” and the antiauthoritarian movement to present theirs. ANTARSYA [Anticapitalist Left Cooperation for the Overthrow] responded and two representatives, from the organizations NAR [New Left Current][16] and SEK [Socialist Workers Party][17], participated and spoke.  On December the 18th a meeting of delegations from ANTARSYA and EEK took place (see the Announcement of the Politburo of EEK on Dec 20th and the Joint Communiqué of ANTARSYA and EEK on Dec 22th).

Both at the open event and the delegations meeting, beyond the agreement on individual programmatic points (such as the cancellation of  the debt, nationalizations without compensation, workers’ control), the EEK insisted on putting forward  the perspective of workers' power as a revolutionary anti-capitalist response to the political power crisis, and to challenge the government proposal of SYRIZA, and categorically reject any compromise with any “left” nationalism. Thus the proposed partnership with formations such as “Plan B”[18] and PAMES [Initiative for a left Front Coalition], - groups that also held meetings with known representatives from the “left patriotic movement” of imperialist France[Nikonoff][19] and Italy[Campo Antimperalista][20] - would have to be rejected.

Unfortunately, the majority of ANTARSYA under the responsibility of NAR and ARAN [Left Recomposition] and ARAS [Left Anti-capitalist Group] (grouped together in PAMES),[21] not only did not take into account the critical remarks made by EEK, but also solemnly signed a political-electoral alliance with PAMES. “Plan B”, which is involved in this Coaltion from the beginning, at the same moment that it shakes hands with the majority of ANTARSYA, has no problem to provocatively raise its nationalism and drachma-fetishism.Leaders of “Plan B”, jointly signed on Dec19th(the day after the meeting with ANTARSYA) a common public statement “for the creation of a democratic patriotic pole” with Kazakis’ EPAM [United Popular Front][22] and the invisible to the naked eye “Drachma, Greek Democratic Movement Five Stars” of... Katsanevas [ a corrupt ex-PASOK statesman]!![23]

Of course, EEK could never be associated with such a denigration even of the name of the revolutionary left, on the pretext of winning “the currents that tend to differ from reformism and turn to the left". It is not difficult to see that the “patriots” of  ‘Plan B’ have not broken from reformism and are definitely located to the right of KKE, but also, of forces within SYRIZA that are not hiding their critical attitude.

Without being accused of “interfering” in ANTARSYA’s “internal affairs”, keeping in mind the  responsibility and courage of a comradeship forged through decades of common struggles, we call on the comrades of ANTARSYA, specifically the comrades of NAR and its youth organization, nKA [Youth of Communist Liberation], to  reject this opportunistic electoral-political alliance and being dragged into the  swamp of “left” nationalism.

1.   7.        Within the specific, extremely tight in terms of time and of financial requirements circumstances, EEK must bear on its shoulders the struggle for the political independence of the working class and for the proletarian internationalism and participate independently at the elections. The voice of ΕΕΚ should be the voice of the social revolution, a minority voice, but nonetheless an incompatible and insubordinate. We must show the only way out, to discuss with the people as wide as we can, to mobilize the people –from this very moment– for the aftermath of the defeat of the memorandum supporters, to recruit and organize revolutionary forces, to train and educate ourselves as vanguard fighters for the historical battles to come. EEK’s mode of existence, its raison d'être, is the ceaseless struggle for international permanent revolution under the most diverse, sometimes exceptionally unfavorable conditions, defying obstacles and opponents on the road to social liberation and Communism.

Let us dare again, let us act decisively, let us take up the gauntlet of this historic challenge!

 Emergency Conference of the EEK, December 28, 2014

[1] The term "troika" refers to the representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission that have been dictating terms to Greece since its financial crisis erupted in 2009, forcing Greece to request emergency loans.

[2] The 'Memorandum'  is the agreement entered into by successive Greek governments to enforce the austerity demands made by the EU in return for 'bailout loans' which allowed the cash starved government to stagger on for a few more weeks. Prior to its collapse on Dec. 29, 2014, the New Democracy / Pasok coalition government had been bragging that its austerity policies had been so successful that Greece would shortly be able to complete all its obligations to the troika and would be free of the onerous terms of the Memorandum. But the European bankers cut Samaras loose when they declared that Greece was nowhere near fulfilling its obligations and in fact demanded further austerity measures.

[3] Wolfgang Schäuble, the Finance Minister of Germany, has been the leading advocate of the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the EU.

[4]   Podemos is the new left wing party in Spain formed just a year ago by Pablo Iglesias on an anti-austerity program.  In just over a year it has won substantial support and now leads in the polls over the governing Popular Party and the Socialist Party as Spain approaches general elections later this year.
[5] After adopting the rhetoric of anti-austerity, Ireland's nationalist Sinn Fein party made dramatic gains in the elections for the European Parliament last year at the expense of Ireland's traditional parties. A recent article in Jacobin noted the contradictions within Sinn Fein, that it is fighting austerity measures in the South of Ireland, where it is out of power, while helping enforce them in the North, where it is part of the local government.

[6] Prime Minister Samaras set the election date for Jan 25, less than 4 weeks after his government lost a vote of confidence when its candidate for President failed to win a majority of the votes in Parliament.
[7] "Type-C" prisons are new maximum security prisons recently enacted into law. They have been justifiably called "prisons fit for the age of austerity".
[8] ANEL, or Independent Greeks, is a right wing split from New Democracy that opposes the memorandum agreement with the troika. In spite of their reactionary positions on immigration and other issues they have been courted by various left wing groups searching for a coalition against New Democracy.
[9] Jean-Claude Juncker is the chair of the European Commission. Pierre Moscovici is the European Economic Affairs Commissioner. Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany. All have been vocal in recent weeks about the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro.  The right wing "familiar faces" would be those of the outgoing Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras from New Democracy and his coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos  from PASOK. The possible "left wing" negotiator would be Alexis Tsipras, should his SYRIZA party win the election and form a new government.
[10] The EEK has raised the slogan of the "Indefinite General Political Strike" as an alternative to the numerous calls for a "General Strike" by the trade union bureaucrats and the "left" political groups. The latter have worked to keep in check the opposition of the working class to the austerity measures within the confines of harmless one day protests. By refusing to place a limit on the duration of a General Strike, the EEK seeks to turn the General Strike into a potent weapon of working class power
[11] The color black in Greek political symbolism represents the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn. The color blue on the other hand represents the traditional Right wing parties such as New Democracy.  The color green in Greece symbolizes not the Green Party, but PASOK, the PanHellenic Socialist Movement, that was in charge of the government from 2010 to 2012 under the leadership of George Papandreou, when it imposed the austerity measures dictated to Greece by the troika.  After PASOK was repudiated in the elections of 2012 it continued to play a reactionary role by joining the government of New Democracy's Antonis Samaras as a junior partner.
[12] 'Siloam's Pool' is a Biblical reference to a pool in ancient Jerusalem where Jesus was supposed to have cured a blind man. A significant number of former officials of the pro-austerity government have thrown their support to SYRIZA in an attempt to wash away their misdeeds in the eyes of public.
[13] The 'Thessaloniki Program'  was adopted by SYRIZA  earlier this year. It includes a number of reassurances to the EU and  Greek capitalists that they have nothing to fear if a SYRIZA government takes over.  A recent statement to this effect was posted on the Huffington Post by SYRIZA's leader, Alexis Tsipras.
[14] ANTARSYA,  an acronym for  "The Anticapitalist Left Cooperation for the Overthrow" is a coalition of several radical groups that have agreed to jointly field candidates for parliament.
[15] The treaty that was supposed to end hostilities between the forces of the British-backed right wing government and those of the anti-fascist resistance, EAM-ELAS,  was finally concluded at Varkiza, near Athens, on February 12, 1945. It was signed on the one hand by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of a new, British-bolstered Greek government and the Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) for EAM-ELAS, on the other. Article IX of this agreement provided for a plebiscite within the year to decide upon the constitutional problem, with elections to follow for a constituent assembly that would draft a new organic law. Both parties, moreover, agreed to ask the Allied powers to send observers to these elections to verify the genuineness of the expression of the popular will. None of the terms of the treaty were honored by the British or their Greek proxies. After the partisans surrendered their arms they were subject to heavy persecution that precipitated the Civil War that ensued.
[16] NAR, or the New Left Current originated as a split from the Communist Youth (KNE), the youth organization of the Communist Party (KKE) after the Communist Party entered a coalition government with New Democracy in 1989. NAR is currently one of the members of the ANTARSYA coalition.
[17] The SEK, Socialist Workers Party, is the Greek affiliate of the International Socialist Tendency (IST).  They are the second largest group affiliated to the IST, behind the British Socialist Workers Party  They are part of the ANTARSYA coalition.
[18] 'Plan B' is the name of a new political party founded by the former leader of SYRIZA, Alekos Alavanos. It advocates that Greece exit the Eurozone and return to the drachma.
[19] Jacques Nikonoff is the president of Attac, an anti-globalization movement based in France.
[20]  Campo Antimperalista, a radical group based in Italy that favors withdrawal from the Euro.
[21] ARAS,  NAR and ARAN are some of the groups constituting ANTARSYA. ARAS is the “Left Anti-Capitalist Group” and is influenced by Maoism. ARAN or “Left Recomposition” is another part of ANTARSYAS and is also influenced by Maoism. NAR, or New Left Current, is a group that broke from the Communist Party Youth organization in 1989. 
[22] The United Popular Left, or EPAM, headed by Dimitris Kazakis, began as the group of Greece’s “indignatos” and has been transformed into a party advocating Greek sovereignty.
[23] The Drachmi Greek Democratic Movement Five Stars was founded by Theodore Katsenevas, a former PASOK official, and advocates leaving the Euro and returning to the Drachma.